Disney’s former Senior Financial Analyst Sandra Kuba has been in the news a couple of times. The 18 year Disney veteran previously she came out and accused Disney of questionable economic practices and even filed an SEC whistleblower complaint against them in August of 2017. Of course it was all over the news then but quickly disappeared down the memory hole of the internet.
It appears we aren’t the only ones questioning what happened to that SEC complaint because the Orlando Sentinel reached out for comment and said “The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission declined to comment Wednesday when the Orlando Sentinel asked about the outcome of Kuba’s complaint.”
MarketWatch also has stated that the SEC doesn’t respond in regards to this case.
As a refresher Ms. Kuba had noticed some unusually accounting practices when she was working at Disney and she brought them to the attention of her superiors.
She indicated that she noticed that employees in the “Parks and Resorts” segment “systematically overstated revenue by billions of dollars by exploiting weaknesses in the company’s accounting software”
“Kuba’s whistleblower filings, ….outline several ways employees allegedly boosted revenue, including recording fictitious revenue for complimentary golf rounds or for free guest promotions. Another alleged action Kuba described in her SEC filing involved recording revenue for $500 gift cards at their face value even when guests paid a discounted rate of $395.”
When she reported the issues she was ignored by supervisors so she emailed George Kalogridis, who was then the Walt Disney World Resort President, in June 2017. She included her concerns and then claims she was sent an email the next day from Disney Employee Relations that ““threatened her not to report her concerns about the company’s practices elsewhere or Disney would consider it ‘retaliation against the company.”
Her complaint with the SEC was filed while she was on medical leave and then she was fired when she returned to work. The lawsuit is indicating that Kuba was terminated as a result of her history of complaints and the SEC whistleblower filing.
According to the Orlando Sentinel her lawsuit states:
“On a number of occasions throughout her career, Kuba reported her concerns about Disney’s policies, practices, and procedures that she genuinely and reasonably believed were unethical, improper or illegal to Disney’s management. Each time, Kuba suffered from harassment, hostility and retaliation as a result.”
Due to the aftermath and issues from her filings Ms. Kubo has faced financial hardships and her husband even committed suicide. A Go Fund Me was launched for Ms. Kubo by Jane Turner, who was herself a highly decorated FBI agent that faced issues over whistleblowing. So this is legitimate enough to get the attention of advocates.
This isn’t going away for Disney. If they did indeed “cook the books” to appear more profitable, they could be facing a lot of trouble from a lot of government agencies, stock holders, etc.
Of course a Disney Spokesperson has again indicated that it’s a “meritless” claim. Well it’s 4 years later, and it’s still going on. Seems that it could arguably have some merit after all.
What do you think? Comment and let us know!
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